A Dream Gave Paul His Map 16 1Paul came first to Derbe, then Lystra. He found a disciple there by the name of Timothy, son of a devout Jewish mother and Greek father. 2Friends in Lystra and Iconium all said what a fine young man he was. 3Paul wanted to recruit him for their mission, but first took him aside and circumcised him so he wouldn’t offend the Jews who lived in those parts. They all knew that his father was Greek. 4As they traveled from town to town, they presented the simple guidelines the Jerusalem apostles and leaders had come up with. 5That turned out to be most helpful. Day after day the congregations became stronger in faith and larger in size. 6They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. 7So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. 8Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas. 9That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans. 11Putting out from the harbor at Troas, we made a straight run for Samothrace. The next day we tied up at New City 12and walked from there to Philippi, the main city in that part of Macedonia and, even more importantly, a Roman colony. We lingered there several days. 13On the Sabbath, we left the city and went down along the river where we had heard there was to be a prayer meeting. We took our place with the women who had gathered there and talked with them. 14One woman, Lydia, was from Thyatira and a dealer in expensive textiles, known to be a God–fearing woman. As she listened with intensity to what was being said, the Master gave her a trusting heart—and she believed! 15After she was baptized, along with everyone in her household, she said in a surge of hospitality, “If you’re confident that I’m in this with you and believe in the Master truly, come home with me and be my guests.” We hesitated, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. Beat Up and Thrown in Jail 16One day, on our way to the place of prayer, a slave girl ran into us. She was a psychic and, with her fortunetelling, made a lot of money for the people who owned her. 17She started following Paul around, calling everyone’s attention to us by yelling out, “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!” 18She did this for a number of days until Paul, finally fed up with her, turned and commanded the spirit that possessed her, “Out! In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of her!” And it was gone, just like that. 19When her owners saw that their lucrative little business was suddenly bankrupt, they went after Paul and Silas, roughed them up and dragged them into the market square. Then the police arrested them 20and pulled them into a court with the accusation, “These men are disturbing the peace—dangerous Jewish agitators 21subverting our Roman law and order.” 22By this time the crowd had turned into a restless mob out for blood. The judges went along with the mob, had Paul and Silas’s clothes ripped off and ordered a public beating. 23After beating them black—and—blue, they threw them into jail, telling the jailkeeper to put them under heavy guard so there would be no chance of escape. 24He did just that—threw them into the maximum security cell in the jail and clamped leg irons on them. 25Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. 26Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose. 27Startled from sleep, the jailer saw all the doors swinging loose on their hinges. Assuming that all the prisoners had escaped, he pulled out his sword and was about to do himself in, figuring he was as good as dead anyway, 28when Paul stopped him: “Don’t do that! We’re all still here! Nobody’s run away!” 29The jailer got a torch and ran inside. Badly shaken, he collapsed in front of Paul and Silas. 30He led them out of the jail and asked, “Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved, to really live?” 31They said, “Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you’ll live as you were meant to live—and everyone in your house included!” 32They went on to spell out in detail the story of the Master—the entire family got in on this part. 33They never did get to bed that night. The jailer made them feel at home, dressed their wounds, and then—he couldn’t wait till morning!—was baptized, he and everyone in his family. 34There in his home, he had food set out for a festive meal. It was a night to remember: He and his entire family had put their trust in God; everyone in the house was in on the celebration. 35At daybreak, the court judges sent officers with the instructions, “Release these men.” 36The jailer gave Paul the message, “The judges sent word that you’re free to go on your way. Congratulations! Go in peace!” 37But Paul wouldn’t budge. He told the officers, “They beat us up in public and threw us in jail, Roman citizens in good standing! And now they want to get us out of the way on the sly without anyone knowing? Nothing doing! If they want us out of here, let them come themselves and lead us out in broad daylight.” 38When the officers reported this, the judges panicked. They had no idea that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39They hurried over and apologized, personally escorted them from the jail, and then asked them if they wouldn’t please leave the city. 40Walking out of the jail, Paul and Silas went straight to Lydia’s house, saw their friends again, encouraged them in the faith, and only then went on their way.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About